Believers can’t make people trust in God

When it comes to those opposed to believing in him, God can’t seem to win.

When it comes to those opposed to believing in him, God can’t seem to win.

When Israel was led out of Egypt, God performed miraculous signs by destroying the land of Egypt and also drowning their army in the Red Sea. He guided them in the desert with a pillar of fire and protected them from the sun with a cloud that covered them throughout the heat of the day.

Yet, as they were poised to enter the land of Canaan and take it over, the people became fearful of the land’s inhabitants, and instead decided to elect a new leader and return to Egypt. This, of course, enraged Yahweh, who was prepared to strike the entire assembly with a plague and wipe them out.

Numbers 14:11 – Yahweh said to Moses, “How long will these people despise me? How long will they not trust in me despite all the signs I have performed among them?

See, when it comes to those who are hesitant or rebellious about exhibiting faith in God, God can’t seem to win. If he doesn’t do miraculous deeds, then people scoff and say that he either doesn’t exist or he doesn’t intervene in life situations. If he does miraculous deeds, the people continually doubt his ability to do the next miraculous thing.

The issue isn’t about God’s ability to do or not do miraculous things. It’s about a person’s heart condition and willingness to accept God’s authority in their life. For those who can accept the authority of a God of all the universe, there is plenty of evidence to corroborate his glory and majesty in both the created world and in his interventions throughout the history of his people. However, for those who cannot accept the authority of an all powerful God, all of the evidence in the world will not convince them it is so.

This is not a dilemma for believers to solve; it is simply the way it is. Our purpose is to share the truth of God’s Word with those who are willing to listen, and to be faithful in not compromising the Word with those who may not be accepting of its conclusions. Like the apostle Paul, we need to do our best to be “all things to all people, so that I may by every possible means save some. Now I do all this because of the gospel, so that I may share in the blessings,” (1 Corinthians 9:22-23).

The Israelites simply had to learn the hard way to trust in Yahweh. Those who didn’t and chose instead to do things their own way ended up perishing in the desert; there was nothing else for Yahweh to do with their non-belief. In the same way, we need to have the maturity to allow people to make their own choices when it comes to trusting in Yahweh. All we can do is point the way, but they are the ones who need to step through the door. Let’s just do all we can to remove every hindrance possible and leave the rest in God’s capable hands.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

No compromise with the sinful practices of worldly culture

The type of vigilance required for maintaining righteousness is extreme and rarely practiced.

Core of the Bible podcast #74 – No compromise with the sinful practices of worldly culture

Today we will be looking at the topic of vigilance, and how the vigilance for righteousness that God expects of us is real, challenging, and unwavering.

Our story for today is taken from the narrative of Israel’s wanderings in the desert, related in Numbers 25.

Numbers 25:6-8 – One of the Israelite men brought a Midianite woman to his brothers. He did this right in front of Moses and the whole community of Israel while they were crying at the entrance to the tent of meeting. Phinehas, son of Eleazar and grandson of the priest Aaron, saw this. So he left the assembly, took a spear in his hand, and went into the tent after the Israelite man.

The type of vigilance required for maintaining righteousness is extreme and rarely practiced. Yeshua spoke of it in hyperbolic terminology, that even if your eye or hand causes you to sin, you should be prepared to gouge it out or chop it off.

In the example of Phinehas, a priest in Aaron’s line at the time of Israel’s wandering in the desert, he demonstrated this commitment to righteousness in an extreme way that he is famously remembered for to this day. The men of Israel had become complacent in their commitment to Yahweh. They began to succumb to the idolatry of the local Midianite population as they were being seduced by the women of Moab.

Numbers 25:1-3 – “While Israel was staying at Shittim, the men began to have sex with Moabite women who invited the people to the sacrifices offered to their gods. The people ate the meat from the sacrifices and worshiped these gods. Since the Israelites joined in worshiping the god Baal of Peor, Yahweh became angry with Israel.”

Due to this rampant idolatry, God sent a plague among the general population that was killing thousands of people. He revealed to Moses and the leaders what must be done to put things right.

Numbers 25:4-5 – “Yahweh said to Moses, ‘Take all the leaders of the people, and execute them in broad daylight in Yahweh’s presence. This will turn Yahweh’s anger away from Israel.’ So Moses said to the judges of Israel, ‘Each of you must kill the men who have joined in worshiping the god Baal of Peor.'”

This directive seems so contrary to our modern sensibilities; surely there must have been some alternative, some form of rehabilitation that could be enacted to reform those who had fallen into idolatry and sexual promiscuity. But there were no compromises, no discussions, no negotiations; those who had sinned in idolatry had to be removed from the population of Israel. Yahweh had been extremely clear with this directive when the Israelites came out of Egypt:

Exodus 23:24-25 – You must not worship the gods of these nations or serve them in any way or imitate their evil practices. Instead, you must utterly destroy them and smash their sacred pillars. You must serve only Yahweh your God…”

Now, before they had even reached the land promised to them by God, the offenders within Israel had become so brazen in their sinfulness that they had continued to proceed in their practices, even as Moses and the assembly leaders were seeking God’s direction and favor. Upon seeing this, Phinehas instantly jumped into action in obedience to God’s command. He didn’t hesitate or wait for a committee to decide on the right timing; he simply got up, grabbed a spear, and followed the offenders into their tent.

Numbers 25:7-8 – So he left the assembly, took a spear in his hand, and went into the tent after the Israelite man. He drove the spear through the man and into the woman’s body. Because of this, the plague that the Israelites were experiencing stopped.

Phinehas is remembered because he unhesitatingly did a difficult thing that God required, and in so doing, saved the rest of the assembly. In his vigilance for righteousness, he saw the iniquity and took immediate action.

This story is a metaphor for us today. The example is extreme because God wants to make sure we understand how serious it is for us to remain in blatant disobedience to his purposes. In our modern permissiveness, we excuse all types of aberrant behavior as being acceptable based on the fact that the biblical culture was distant and removed from our current relativistic and inclusive morality today. However, while the culture may indeed be distant, the moral underpinnings that anchored the ancient Israelites should be the exact same foundation we build upon today.

I hasten to add that I am not advocating here that we should kill everyone who practices a different, idolatrous religion from us. But it is to say that we should be aware of the corruptive power of tolerating sin among the ranks of believing congregations. We may feel that reform is possible if destructive individuals remain connected to the life of the local believing community, however, when we do so we are simply enabling sinful behavior among our own ranks. This is contrary to the purpose of God and needs to be dealt with in a similar swift and decisive fashion as Phinehas did with the Midianite culture. Perhaps removal from the community is the impetus required to jar an individual back to their spiritual senses, where they can repent and return to the purpose of God within the larger spiritual community of believers. This was blatantly exemplified as one workable solution within the life of the Corinthian congregation who had faithfully followed the apostle Paul’s advice after he had called them out on their toleration of sin within their midst.

1 Corinthians 5:1 – “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and the kind of sexual immorality that is not even tolerated among the Gentiles ​– ​a man is sleeping with his father’s wife.”

After a period of time, Paul writes back to the congregation after they had removed this individual from their fellowship.

2 Corinthians 2:6-8 – “This punishment by the majority is sufficient for that person. As a result, you should instead forgive and comfort him. Otherwise, he may be overwhelmed by excessive grief. Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him.”

This example should be a bellwether, a leading indicator, for all believing congregations. When we shy away from our duty to not compromise with the surrounding culture, it can affect us in ways that will continue to erode spiritual stability throughout the believing community.

In a moment, we will return to evaluate Yeshua’s understanding of the principle of removing sin from among God’s people, along with further ideas for personal purity conveyed by the apostles and some of the classic commentators of recent generations.


In like fashion to the men of Israel, we can be easily seduced by the surrounding idolatry of our day and age. The culture and technology we are immersed in provide ample opportunities for us to be led away, seduced as by Midianite women, from our commitment to the one true God. It is only when those disobedient thoughts and actions are decisively put to death that we can be restored to wholeness with God. As mentioned previously, Yeshua used the example of gouging out eyes and chopping off hands.

Matthew 5:29-30 – “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”

Charles Ellicott comments on this hyperbolic or exaggerated language of Yeshua in this way:

“The bold severity of the phrase excludes a literal interpretation. The seat of the evil lies in the will, not in the organ of sense or action, and the removal of the instrument might leave the inward taint unpurified. What is meant is, that any sense [or instrument], when it ministers to sin is an evil and not a good, the loss of which would be the truest gain. Translated into modern language, we are warned that taste, culture, aesthetic refinement may but make our guilt and our punishment more tremendous. It were better to be without them than “for life’s sake to lose life’s noblest ends.”

The apostle Paul wrote about it this way:

Romans 8:12-13 – Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.

Commenting on this putting to death the deeds of the sinful nature, the Jamieson-Faussett-Brown review of this passage focuses on the following:

“The apostle is not satisfied with assuring them that they are under no obligations to the flesh, to hearken to its suggestions, without reminding them where it will end if they do; and he uses the word “mortify” (put to death) as a kind of play upon the word “die” just before. “If ye do not kill sin, it will kill you.” But he tempers this by the bright alternative, that if they do, through the Spirit, mortify the deeds of the body, such a course will infallibly terminate in “life” everlasting.”

Continuing this same theme to the Colossian congregation, Paul wrote:

Colossians 3:5 – “So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.”

On this, Matthew Henry writes:

“It is our duty to mortify our members which incline to the things of the world. Mortify them, kill them, suppress them, as weeds or vermin which spread and destroy all about them. Continual opposition must be made to all corrupt workings, and no provision made for carnal indulgences. Occasions of sin must be avoided: the lusts of the flesh, and the love of the world; and covetousness, which is idolatry; love of present good, and of outward enjoyments. It is necessary to mortify sins, because if we do not kill them, they will kill us. The gospel changes the higher as well as the lower powers of the soul, and supports the rule of right reason and conscience, over appetite and passion. There is now no difference from country, or conditions and circumstances of life. It is the duty of every one to be holy, because Christ is a Christian’s All, his only Lord and Saviour, and all his hope and happiness.”

I find it interesting that Matthew Henry says, “there is now no difference from country, or conditions and circumstances of life.” In one sense this is true, at least in regard to the universality of the biblical spiritual scope. However, there are many different countries and cultures affecting the conditions and circumstances of life. Believers in many walks of life throughout the world face many differing challenges that can affect their spiritual life and practice. How are we to overcome these varieties of challenges to the purity of the kingdom message?

The good news is that the same Spirit which empowered Yeshua and the early disciples still lives within the regenerated lives of believers today. As Paul wrote in Romans 8, “if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.” It is the power of the Spirit of God that provides the ability to overcome sinful practices of whatever culture among which we find ourselves.

Yeshua instructed his disciples that they would have power from God to be witnesses throughout the known world at that time:

Acts 1:8 – “But you will receive power when the holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Paul prayed for the Ephesian believers to be strengthened in the Spirit of God:

Ephesians 3:14, 16-17 – “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, … that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith…”

He also encouraged Timothy to rely on the indwelling Spirit for power, self-control, and guarding of godly gifts.

2 Timothy 1:7, 13-14 – “…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. … Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Messiah Yeshua. By the holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.”

This is the great plan of God in dispersing believers throughout the world and causing them to live lives of righteousness where they are, to be the light and salt to those who need it most.

Philippians 2:15 – …”that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…”

The same vigilance and determination of Phinehas for the righteousness of his people needs to be evidenced in us today for our own standing in God’s presence. The only way we can be truly set apart for God’s purposes is by brutally putting to death, gouging out, chopping off, and stabbing a spear through the heart of those things in our lives that offend God.

This is the determination needed to remain on God’s path. This is the vigilance it takes to be a child of God. Collectively, we need to mimic the no-compromise mentality of a Phinehas, not waiting, but taking immediate and decisive action on the habits and practices in our lives that are offensive to a holy God.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Becoming set apart in private fellowship with God

Personal holiness is a discipline that can provide deeper insights into the wisdom of God.

Personal holiness is a discipline that can provide deeper insights into the wisdom of God.

For many different reasons, believers in Messiah have a unique calling among religious traditions of the world. However, one of the most interesting facets of a life of faith and becoming set apart for God’s use is how many aspects are practiced privately, out of the glare of daily interactions.

For example, Yeshua taught the disciples to pray to God in private.

Matthew 6:6 – “But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

If they had a disagreement with a friend or relation, they were not to publicly call them out as a first reaction, but to meet with them privately to see if a solution could be reached.

Matthew 18:15 – “If your brother sins against you, go and rebuke him in private. If he listens to you, you have won your brother.”

Most significantly, Yeshua produced disciples who were set apart by revealing deep truths and teaching them privately.

  • Mark 4:34 – He did not speak to them without a parable. Privately, however, he explained everything to his own disciples.
  • Mark 13:3-4 – While he was sitting on the Mount of Olives across from the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished? “

The process of becoming holy is one of being set apart as distinct for God’s use and for his glory. Perhaps one of the reasons this process is not as well-known is for the very reason that it typically occurs in private, out of the glare of public scrutiny, in quiet sessions of meditation or only between individuals who are submitting to God’s instruction.

In our American culture, it is not uncommon to see big, brash displays in congregations hoping to draw more people to God. However, the discipline of personal holiness that God desires typically comes to light only in the most intimate of settings. It is forged in the deepest recesses of personal reflection and private actions that spring from close communion with our Maker. The revelation that is sought in the public assembly is in actuality born and bred most regularly within the quiet corners of personal repentance and accountability.

But, as is the nature with all things of great value, the benefits that are received far outweigh any personal sacrifice that must be endured to achieve them.

Luke 10:23-24 – Then turning to his disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see the things you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see the things you see but didn’t see them; to hear the things you hear but didn’t hear them.”


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Vigilant obedience to Torah

Demonstrating obedience to God’s Word takes resolve and commitment.

Demonstrating obedience to God’s Word takes resolve and commitment.

Nehemiah 13:1-3 – At that time the book of Moses was read publicly to the people. The command was found written in it that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever enter the assembly of God, because they did not meet the Israelites with food and water. Instead, they hired Balaam against them to curse them, but our God turned the curse into a blessing. When they heard the law, they separated all those of mixed descent from Israel.

At first reading, this type of action by Nehemiah and his reformers can seem harsh and unjustified. Separating people from the assembly of Israel due only to their racial descent grates against our modern perspective on race and inclusion. Was it true that someone could be excluded from the civil life of Israel simply because of their ethnicity?

First, we have to realize that Israel was to be a pure, holy, and set apart people. They were to be distinct from all others and could only maintain that distinction if they did not intermarry with other nations. This was a direct command of God through Moses that had been forsaken in the days of Nehemiah:

Deuteronomy 7:1, 3-4, 6 – “When Yahweh your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess, and he drives out many nations before you​ … You must not intermarry with them, and you must not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, because they will turn your sons away from me to worship other gods. Then Yahweh’s anger will burn against you, and he will swiftly destroy you. … “For you are a holy people belonging to Yahweh your God. Yahweh your God has chosen you to be his own possession out of all the peoples on the face of the earth.”

While avoiding contamination from idolatrous worship was the primary reason for their separation, in the present case, Nehemiah was quoting another portion of the law of Moses where they were directed to exclude the Moabites and Ammonites specifically from ever joining in the civil life of the community, due to those tribes’ resistance to assist Israel in their wilderness journeys.

Deuteronomy 23:3-4, 6 – “No Ammonite or Moabite may enter Yahweh’s assembly; none of their descendants, even to the tenth generation, may ever enter Yahweh’s assembly. “This is because they did not meet you with food and water on the journey after you came out of Egypt, and because Balaam son of Beor from Pethor in Aram-naharaim was hired to curse you. … “Never pursue their welfare or prosperity as long as you live.

So it appears that ethnic descent could bar someone from participating in the civil life of an Israelite. But so could having a physical deformation or being born outside of marriage.

Deuteronomy 23:1-2 – “No man whose testicles have been crushed or whose penis has been cut off may enter Yahweh’s assembly. “No one of illegitimate birth may enter Yahweh’s assembly; none of his descendants, even to the tenth generation, may enter Yahweh’s assembly.”

The command to be excluded from the assembly has been variously interpreted to mean marriage, to participating in the leadership of the Israelite community, or to mean total and complete excommunication. But the word used here means to separate, or to set apart as distinct. It is also used of God separating light from darkness, the Levites being set apart from the rest of the Israelites, the veil separating the ark in the holy of holies from the rest of the temple, the cities of refuge being set apart from the rest of the towns of Israel, and Israel themselves being set apart from all other nations.

I find it interesting that all of the conditions of separation have nothing to do with the free will choice of the individual in question; therefore they could not be held spiritually accountable for a condition which they had no control of, such as the conditions surrounding the marital status of their parents at birth, their physical deformities, or their racial heritage. Being identified as distinct from the assembly of Yahweh was a condition of separation only for temporary time within the nation of Israel’s history for the sake of teaching an eternal lesson about purity, holiness, and vigilance.

As we have seen, the Bible is filled with distinctions being made between all types of places and individuals, and this appears to me to be another one of those instances. To me, the command does not appear so much a punishment on those who were to be excluded, but a test for the faithful to see if they would abide by God’s command.

Consider the vigilance needed to physically remove individuals from the core life of the community who had families, jobs, and responsibilities within the congregation of Israel. This would require a deep commitment to honoring the Torah of God above those relationships. This is akin to the level of commitment that Yeshua spoke of when it comes to removing the mechanisms of sin from within one’s own life.

Matthew 5:29-30 – “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into Gehenna. “And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into Gehenna.

Ultimately, all who would demonstrate sincere worship of Yahweh would be honored by him. Isaiah spoke of the time of the Messianic kingdom when anyone truly seeking Yahweh would have the ability and freedom to do so, specifically mentioning foreigners and eunuchs who were formerly to be separated.

Isaiah 56:3-8 – No foreigner who has joined himself to Yahweh should say, “Yahweh will exclude me from his people,” and the eunuch should not say, “Look, I am a dried-up tree.” For Yahweh says this: “For the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, and choose what pleases me, and hold firmly to my covenant, “I will give them, in my house and within my walls, a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters. I will give each of them an everlasting name that will never be cut off. “As for the foreigners who join themselves to Yahweh to minister to him, to love the name of Yahweh, and to become his servants — all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold firmly to my covenant — “I will bring them to my holy mountain and let them rejoice in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be acceptable on my altar, for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” This is the declaration of Yahweh GOD, who gathers the dispersed of Israel: “I will gather to them still others besides those already gathered.”

The Israelites had to practice “tough love” and vigilance of separation in order to abide by the Torah that applied to them in their day. God was preserving the purity of the congregation until the kingdom of Messiah would arrive, and once that occurred, the physical lineages and distinctions would no longer retain the same significance.

Galatians 3:28 – There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female; since you are all one in Messiah Yeshua.

For anyone in Messiah, the barriers would be broken down and all would be honored in him. But those spiritual lessons regarding vigilance and purity would remain for eternity.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Biblical teaching that carries depth and eternal purpose

The purpose of God is fulfilled when we give proper honor to his Word.

The purpose of God is fulfilled when we give proper honor to his Word.

Titus 2:7-8 – “Make yourself an example of good works with integrity and dignity in your teaching. Your message is to be sound beyond reproach, so that any opponent will be ashamed, because he doesn’t have anything bad to say about us.”

As Paul is writing to Titus regarding how he should be a godly leader, he mentions that his works and his teaching should be supportive of each other. He shouldn’t just teach about the right things but he should practice doing good, as well.

In regard to the nature of Titus’ teaching, Paul uses two terms that I believe are lacking among many modern Bible teachers, and these terms are typically translated as integrity and dignity. Looking a little deeper into these terms we might learn a little more about how unique these characteristics are.

By looking at the second word first, the word usually translated as dignity, we can see an important aspect represented here. The Helps Word Studies reference provides an interesting expanded definition for us.

“[this word] reflects what has been transformed by God and exhibits “moral and spiritual gravity (gravitas)” – like what attends a deep, godly character. This sense of dignity also invites reverence from others, who should likewise exalt what is noble (morally-elevated).”

I think that this is a significant characteristic that is lacking in much of modern Bible teaching today. Many, if not most of those espousing biblical concepts will do so in a way that panders to their audience, usually using many informal colloquialisms to try to make the message more palatable for their tastes.

A Christian writer by the name of Alec Satin writes about the continual increasing informality of worship today in his article, What is irreverent worship?

“Reverence to the Lord is sober. It’s attentive, quiet and alert. It’s inconceivable that you would simultaneously check your email on your phone while you’re having an audience with the Queen of England. So how in the world could it possibly be okay for you to check Facebook while you’re supposedly worshipping the King of all creation?”

This indication of the informality of the congregation leads back to the informality of the leadership and the type of teaching going on in congregations today.

Returning to Paul’s admonition to Titus, the first word describing the type of teaching Paul recommends is usually translated as integrity or purity. It is unique in that this form of the word is used nowhere else in the Greek New Testament. Because of its uniqueness, it can be helpful to get to its root word to see what it is derived from that can perhaps broaden our understanding of its use.

The underlying Greek root is a word that is typically translated as immortality or incorruptibility. Here are some examples:

  • Romans 2:7 – eternal life to those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality;
  • 1 Corinthians 15:53 – For this corruptible body must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body must be clothed with immortality.
  • 2 Timothy 1:10 – This has now been made evident through the appearing of our Savior Messiah Yeshua, who has abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

Once again, an expanded definition from the Helps Word Studies provides an explanation of the term:

“properly, [it means] no-corruption (unable to experience deterioration); incorruptibility (not perishable), i.e. lacking the very capacity to decay or constitutionally break down.”

This idea of teaching that lacks the capacity for decay means that, by default, it must be based on the most foundational aspects of the gospel message, not what is considered the most culturally acceptable aspects of that message. When all we take away from the Bible is a paradigm of social acceptability and fodder for a cause du jour, we rob the Word of its power and we defame God’s honor. We should not be using the Word to serve our purposes, but instead we should be submitting our purposes, goals, and aspirations to the Word.

We read in the Bible how the Word of God is eternal and unchanging.

1 Peter 1:22-25 – Since you have purified yourselves by your obedience to the truth, so that you show sincere brotherly love for each other, from a pure heart love one another constantly, because you have been born again ​– ​not of perishable seed but of imperishable ​– ​through the living and enduring word of God. For All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like a flower of the grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this word is the gospel that was proclaimed to you.

Peter, quoting from Isaiah, mentions not only how the Word of God endures forever, but is the imperishable seed that causes people to become born again, or born from above. When that message is compromised by becoming culturally issue-oriented, it robs God’s Word of its power, and reduces the majesty of God to the image of man.

It is up to us to ensure our message remains focused on the eternal and imperishable gospel of the Kingdom, and thereby any opponents will not be able to say anything bad about us or our teaching. In this way, the honor and glory of our God will remain intact and visible for all to see, and those seeking the immortal Word of life can be satisfied.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

The kingdom growing until it fills all

Believers in Messiah are part of a chain that is thousands of years old.

Believers in Messiah are part of a chain that is thousands of years old, and one that will continue until it fills the earth.

Luke 13:18-21 – He said, therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like, and what can I compare it to? It’s like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the sky nested in its branches.
Again he said, “What can I compare the kingdom of God to? It’s like leaven that a woman took and mixed into fifty pounds of flour until all of it was leavened.”

If we want to know what the Kingdom of God looks like, we need only to review the parables of Yeshua, since this is where he laid out definitions of the Kingdom for those who were willing to hear. Now, we know that we can’t necessarily just take a surface reading of the parables, because the parables were designed to allow those who wanted to hear the teaching to understand it, and those who were not willing to listen to not understand it.

Luke 8:9-10 – Then his disciples asked him, “What does this parable mean? ” So he said, “The secrets of the kingdom of God have been given for you to know, but to the rest it is in parables, so that ‘Looking they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.'”

The parable of the mustard seed illustrates how the Kingdom would be something that starts extremely small and would grow until it was large enough to support a wildlife habitat. This would be a contrary understanding of the Kingdom to the Jewish ear of Yeshua’s day, because they had the understanding the Kingdom would come in triumphantly and God’s Messiah would rule over all kingdoms immediately, similar to many Christians’ expectation of Messiah’s return in our day.

However, we find Yeshua’s illustration perfectly described the actual working out of God’s Kingdom on the earth: it would start small (Yeshua and the twelve disciples), grow into a larger group (the first-century remnant of Israel), and then spread to become a tree large enough to support its own habitat (illustrated by all believers in Messiah up through our day).

The secondary parable of the leaven carries the same message: the kingdom would start small like the small bit of leaven, but once mixed in with the rest of the dough would end up working its way throughout the entire batch until all of the dough had been affected by the leaven.

Both of these parable explain the same dynamic: the Kingdom starts small, but comes to grow throughout the entirety of the world. While not what the Jews of the day were expecting, it was, however, prophesied in the book of Daniel to do this very thing.

When Daniel was interpreting King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of an image made of gold, silver, bronze, and clay mixed with iron, Daniel explained that God had granted Nebuchadnezzar a vision of the future, and that each of these metals represented a kingdom, ending in what was to become the Roman Empire; the iron mixed with clay.

Daniel 2:34-35 – “As you were watching, a stone broke off without a hand touching it, struck the statue on its feet of iron and fired clay, and crushed them. Then the iron, the fired clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were shattered and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors. The wind carried them away, and not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.”

Daniel described that a stone struck the statue in its feet (which ended up occurring during the Roman empire through the message and teaching of Yeshua) and it became a mountain that filled the whole earth. This growth language is very similar to Yeshua’s parables of the mustard seed and the leaven. Daniel then provides a further explanation by saying to the king:

Daniel 2:43-45 – “You saw the iron mixed with clay ​– ​the peoples will mix with one another but will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with fired clay. In the days of those kings, the God of the heavens will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, and this kingdom will not be left to another people. It will crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, but will itself endure forever. You saw a stone break off from the mountain without a hand touching it, and it crushed the iron, bronze, fired clay, silver, and gold. The great God has told the king what will happen in the future. The dream is certain, and its interpretation reliable.”

The kingdom that God was to set up “in the days of those kings” was indeed the Kingdom of God, ushered in by Messiah, that would be eternal and bring all other kingdoms to an end. Even to this day, the branches continue to extend and the leaven continues to cause the dough to rise. It will not stop until it “fills the earth,” as Daniel predicted.

This is the kingdom we are privileged to be a part of, and one in which we can have a part in its continued expansion. As we live out its principles, we begin to influence those around us with its righteous standards and others can be drawn to Yahweh and his Messiah through our faithfulness. Our obedience to the principles of God’s Word, his Torah, is the catalyst, the leaven, that can cause hearts to forsake the kingdoms of this world and surrender to the Lordship of Messiah.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Compassionate actions for the right reasons

True righteousness acts for the good of others whether or not one can be seen to help.

True righteousness acts for the good of others whether or not one can be seen to help.

While it is true that God desires his people to be people of compassion, Yeshua clarifies the distaste that God has for the selfish motives behind the corrupted practices of the Pharisees and religious leaders of his day.

Matthew 6:1 – “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. Otherwise, you have no reward with your Father in heaven.”

The ancient Hebraic idea of righteousness was a concept that included more than just the giving of alms or financial assistance that it is typically equated with in this passage. Clearly, the whole context of this teaching by Yeshua is on the avoidance of hypocrisy; one should not do righteous actions just to be seen of others.

These righteous actions that Yeshua is focused on were the typical practices that the Pharisees and religious leaders strove for in their public observance of their religion; giving of alms, prayer, and fasting. So instead of Yeshua’s admonition applying only to the practice of almsgiving, we can view his statement of practicing righteousness as a heading for all three of these categories, in this fashion:

  • Matthew 6:1 – “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. Otherwise, you have no reward with your Father in heaven.”
    • 6:2 – So whenever you give to the poor, don’t sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do…
    • 6:5 – Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites…
    • 6:16 – Whenever you fast, don’t be gloomy like the hypocrites.

The challenge for the Messiah believer is that we are equally commanded to make our giving private and sincere, while at the same time ensuring our light is not hidden under a basket.

Matthew 5:15-16 – “No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

Albert Barnes highlights it is not the public nature of the act which is problematic, but the motive behind the act:

“Our Lord does not require us never to give alms before people, but only forbids our doing it “to be seen of them,” for the purposes of ostentation and to seek their praise. To a person who is disposed to do good from a right motive, it matters little whether it be in public or in private. The only thing that renders it even desirable that our good deeds should be seen is that God may be glorified.”

In a similar way, Charles Ellicott focuses on this dichotomy that the believer faces between the two extremes of private sincerity and public actions of compassion:

“It is the motive, and not the fact of publicity, that vitiates the action. The high ideal of the disciple of Christ is to let his light shine “before men” (the self-same words are used in Matthew 5:16 as here), and yet to be indifferent to their praise or even their opinion. In most religious men there is probably a mingling of the two motives, and we dare not say at what precise stage the presence of the lower overpowers the higher. It is enough to remember that it is the little speck which may taint the whole character till it loses all its life.”

For the believer today, it is probably best to remember that God desires us to help others from the heart, not for the purpose of being seen as generous or from a strict sense of unwilling duty. As new creations in Messiah, our renewed nature should naturally gravitate towards generosity and self-sacrifice on behalf of others. We should be extending the compassion of God to those who need it most regardless if we are recognized, but also never shying away from doing what is right when others may not be willing to do so. By keeping our focus on the needs of those we are helping and not how we are being perceived, we can rise above the shallowness of hypocrisy that is offensive to God.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Forgiveness is always in accordance with Torah

The consistency of God’s instruction is revealed when all of the information is reviewed carefully.

The consistency of God’s instruction is revealed when all of the information is reviewed carefully.

One of the challenges that are brought up in regard to the veracity of the teachings of Paul is the tiny epistle written to Philemon. In this letter, Paul is urging his friend Philemon to receive back his former slave, Onesimus, who has since become a believer in Messiah Yeshua. The contention typically brought up is that if Paul is urging Onesimus to return to his former master, then Paul is breaking Torah, because of the command in Deuteronomy 23:15-16:

“You shall not hand over to his master a slave who has escaped from his master to you. He shall live with you in your midst, in the place which he shall choose in one of your towns where it pleases him; you shall not mistreat him.”

First of all, it must be said that we don’t know all the details of why Onesimus was apart from Philemon in the first place, and many assumptions have to be made to arrive at any conclusions. All we know for sure is that they were separated, at some point Onesimus encountered Paul and became a believer in Messiah Yeshua, and he is now standing once again before his former master holding this letter penned by Paul.

The letter of the Torah command says not to “hand over to his master a slave who has escaped.” We don’t know for sure that Onesimus escaped. The text only indicates they were apart or separated for some reason. In verse 15 Paul states, “For perhaps he was for this reason separated from you for a while.” Either Paul is being extremely diplomatic in his choice of words to soften the remembrance of Onesimus’ escape, or there may have been other circumstances that caused Onesimus to be away; the text doesn’t actually say.

What is apparent from the text, however, is that Onesimus had become unprofitable to Philemon either during or after his departure. For a slave owner, a slave would be a financial investment for a manner of work that was required to be done. Either Onesimus was not a very good worker, or his departure caused a financial loss and hardship to Philemon, as Paul writes, “[he] formerly was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and to me.” The situation may be as simple as Philemon sold Onesimus because he was unprofitable to him.

That Onesimus had been a potentially useless slave is also indicated by the fact that Paul indicates he is willing to make up for any shortcoming Onesimus may be responsible for:

18 – “But if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to my account…”

If Onesimus had not resourcefully fulfilled his obligations as a slave, then this would be another strong indication of Philemon’s justifiable unwillingness to receive Onesimus back. If this is truly the case of Onesimus prior to his departure, then there is a reasonable justification as to Philemon’s resistance at receiving Onesimus back, in any capacity, and why Paul is so emphatically and passionately pleading for him.

So if Paul is returning Onesimus, a former slave, to his previous owner, how is it that this is still not a violation of the Torah command in Deuteronomy 23?

Well, for one thing, as mentioned above, we cannot be sure Onesimus actually escaped, which is the crux of the command. Additionally, there is no indication that Onesimus is not choosing to return, only that Philemon may be hesitant to receive him back after past grievances. But lastly, and most importantly, is how Paul states it in verses 15-16:

“For perhaps he was for this reason separated from you for a while, that you would have him back forever, no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.”

The key reason Torah is not violated is by Paul’s phrasing here that Onesimus is “no longer as a slave.” Paul is not returning a slave to his master to return just to his slave status but is reintroducing a known individual in a new relationship as a brother in Messiah Yeshua. In Onesimus’ absence from Philemon, he became a Messiah believer, and had been helping Paul in his ministry needs while he was imprisoned. Philemon was also a Messiah believer, as Paul names him a beloved fellow worker who had an assembly of believers meeting in his home. Two brothers in Messiah, regardless of social status, should be able to overcome past difficulties through the forgiveness both have received from God.

If this applies even to the most extreme status conflict of that between a former slave and his former master, then how much more can we overcome our difficult relationships through the forgiveness that God desires us to share with others?


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Striving after the passionate faithfulness of past generations

A constant pursuit of righteousness provides a context for our own personal and collective spiritual exodus.

Core of the Bible podcast #73 – Striving after the faithfulness of past generations

Today we will be looking at the topic of integrity, and how the passionate faithfulness of past generations during their exodus experiences can lead us to a life of integrity.  Striving after their constant pursuit of righteousness provides a context for our own personal and collective spiritual exodus in our generation.

Psalm 86:11 – Teach me your way, O Yahweh, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.

Psalm 143:10 – Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!

The person of integrity is one who intently seeks to know the truth of God. They desire to walk in that way, to conform their lives to what God desires of them. They have made seeking God the passion of their life, hungering to know him more and to know the correct way. They will not rest until they have heard a word from God, until he has shown them the next steps on their path.

Yeshua taught:

Matthew 5:6 – “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

In one sense, this teaching of Yeshua is a fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah.

Isaiah 49:8-12 – Thus says Yahweh: “In a time of favor I have answered you; in a day of salvation I have helped you; I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages, saying to the prisoners, ‘Come out,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Appear.’ They shall feed along the ways; on all bare heights shall be their pasture; they shall not hunger or thirst, neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them, for he who has pity on them will lead them, and by springs of water will guide them. And I will make all my mountains a road, and my highways shall be raised up. Behold, these shall come from afar, and behold, these from the north and from the west, and these from the land of Syene.”

It is also a reference to the wanderings in the wilderness which Israel experienced, and how God provided for them. They neither hungered nor thirsted, they were protected from the scorching sun by the cloud that covered them, and he had pity on them and led them by springs of water. In a physical way, they were experiencing what would ultimately be fulfilled within the spiritual kingdom of God, when believers would “come from afar,” as Isaiah predicts, even “from the north and from the west.”

This is a recurring theme throughout the Bible, a theme of exodus. While we may recognize the word exodus as the name of the second book of Moses, the word itself was attached to the book as a descriptor of the main topic of the book.

Now, in the original Hebrew, the name of the book is not Exodus but Shemot, meaning “names.” The Hebrew convention of book naming was through using the first words of a book as its title, and the book of Exodus begins with a list of the names of the tribal leaders, the sons of Jacob, who went to Egypt.

Exodus 1:1 – “These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each with his household…”

But the name Exodus was assigned to the book in later years when the Greek and Latin manuscripts were produced. Exodus comes from a combination of the Greek prefix exo, meaning “out of,” and hodos, meaning “way;” it literally means “the way out.” While the names of the books are not necessarily inspired text, this is an apt description of the main topic of the book, the exodus of the people of Israel out of Egyptian slavery and through the wilderness to the land that God promised them. This event is the pivotal event in the history of Israel and is recounted and referenced time and time again.

It is the very beginning of the Ten Commandments:

Exodus 20:2 – “I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Exod 20:2)

Other references include:

Numbers 20:14-16 – Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom: “Thus says your brother Israel: You know all the hardship that we have met: how our fathers went down to Egypt, and we lived in Egypt a long time. And the Egyptians dealt harshly with us and our fathers. And when we cried to Yahweh, he heard our voice and sent an angel and brought us out of Egypt. And here we are in Kadesh, a city on the edge of your territory.

Joshua 24:17 – for it is Yahweh our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed.

Psalm 78:13-16  – He divided the sea and let them pass through it, and made the waters stand like a heap. In the daytime he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a fiery light. He split rocks in the wilderness and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep. He made streams come out of the rock and caused waters to flow down like rivers.

Micah 6:3-4  – “O my people, what have I done to you? How have I wearied you? Answer me! For I brought you up from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.

As Stephen was making his defense before the Sanhedrin, he also provides a detailed retelling of these events to bolster his position of how God was the architect and overseer of the Exodus event:

Acts 7:35-36 – “This Moses, whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’–this man God sent as both ruler and redeemer by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in Egypt and at the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years.

The apostle Paul also connects with Exodus imagery:

1 Corinthians 10:1-4 – For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Messiah.

This exodus event is when God proved himself as a protector and provider of his people. This is how the Israelites could be assured that Yahweh is the one true God. This is the essence of Hebraic thought, woven into all of their storytelling and tradition. It is the theme of the Passover recounted in the Haggadah, or the “Telling” of this story, to each generation, year after year. They have done this for thousands of years since the original events took place, because the story is so powerful and pervasive as a main theme in the Bible. If you’ve ever seen the movie, “The Prince of Egypt,” you have experienced the power of this Exodus narrative.

In a moment, we will take a look at how some of the New Testament writers drew from this well of the exodus story to illustrate the power of the gospel of the Kingdom and how a life of integrity is illustrated by the desire to come out of slavery and darkness into freedom and light.


Based on this consistent theme of the exodus story, we can see how the biblical writers drew from this resource time and again to provide spiritual application of the exodus story in other contexts. In these passages, this theme of providing a way out is constantly recycled; an exodus from darkness to light, from slavery to freedom.

John 8:34, 36 – Yeshua answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. … So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Titus 3:3-6  – For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Yeshua Messiah our Savior…

Isaiah 9:2  –  The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.

Isaiah 42:16  – And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.

Ephesians 5:8  – for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light

1 Peter 2:9  – But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

This exodus theme is representative of how God calls a person or people to himself, they seek him out and desire to follow him through wilderness experiences, and he provides for them along the way. In this way, the way out, it is represented as a life of integrity, of seeking after the one true God. As we have just seen, it is demonstrated over and over to teach us how to apply these simple principles in our own lives.

Unfortunately, we tend to complicate this powerful theme by over-religiousizing the Exodus text, to coin a phrase. We try so hard to discern the micro-application of tiny details and rules and regulations that were given to the Israelites during their wilderness journeys that we lose sight of the bigger picture of what God was doing with them holistically, as a people called out for his purpose. This is not in any way to diminish those rules or Torah of God, but to say that to truly understand how they should be applied, we need to see and understand the larger context of the biblical theme.

Additionally, throughout the biblical narrative, the ancestors or fathers are referenced as having experienced the intimacy with God through their own exodus journeys, an intimacy that was to be further carried on by each successive generation.

Genesis 48:15-16  – And he blessed Joseph and said, “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day, the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the boys; and in them let my name be carried on, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”

1 Kings 3:14  – And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”

Even Paul refers to his faithful forbears:

Acts 24:14  – But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets…

This desire to do what is right and to follow the right paths that God has laid out are exemplified in the deepest expressions of the people of God. The Psalms are especially filled with this type of pleading to God for guidance, for pouring out praise to God and outwardly declaring a desire for righteousness in speech and in actions.

Psalm 5:1-3, 7-8 – Give ear to my words, O Yahweh; consider my groaning. Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray. O Yahweh, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch. … But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you. Lead me, O Yahweh, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me.

Psalm 25:4-5, 8-10, 12 – Make me to know your ways, O Yahweh; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. … Good and upright is Yahweh; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of Yahweh are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies. … Who is the man who fears Yahweh? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.

Psalm 51:6, 10-12 – Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. … Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Psalm 119:24, 27-29 – Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors. … Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works. My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word! Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law!

As believers, we identify with the passionate expression of these principles of our faithful spiritual ancestors because we are ignited with the same Spirit. We desire to share in the exodus experience that they have given voice to over the centuries and millennia as these words were collected and compiled into our Bibles. The kindred longings and desires of our hearts beat in unison with those faithful who have gone before and expressed their deepest secrets which are immortalized among the pages of Scripture. The integrity that lived and breathed in them inspires us to learn of their ways and mimic their faithfulness.

Like the writer of Hebrews, we have the privileged opportunity to step back and view the entirety of the faithful ancestors who followed God and learn to copy their exemplary lives:

Hebrews 12:1 – Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

David and Yeshua encourage faith in Yahweh

Trusting in God provides security and motivation for righteous actions.

Trusting in God provides security and motivation for righteous actions.

Psalm 37:3 – Trust in Yahweh and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.

This entire psalm by David is devoted to reassuring those who trust in Yahweh, encouraging them not to be envious or overly concerned with the practices of the wicked. Trusting in Yahweh is illustrated as fostering behavior that results in his favor. By trusting in Yahweh, one is motivated to do good.

Psalm 37:26-27, 30-31 – All day long he [the faithful one] is gracious and lends, And his descendants are a blessing. Depart from evil and do good, So you will abide forever. … The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, And his tongue speaks justice. The law of his God is in his heart; His steps do not slip.

The psalm also says the faithful will dwell in the land; a reference to the security of the position of the one who trusts in him. By contrast, the wicked are spoken of as disappearing, being cut off, and vanishing like smoke. This is illustrated repeatedly throughout the psalm.

  • Psalm 37:9-11 – For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for Yahweh, they will inherit the land. Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there. But the humble will inherit the land And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.
  • Psalm 37:20, 22, 35-36, 38 – But the wicked will perish; And the enemies of Yahweh will be like the glory of the pastures, They vanish–like smoke they vanish away. … For those blessed by Him will inherit the land, But those cursed by Him will be cut off. … I have seen a wicked, violent man Spreading himself like a luxuriant tree in its native soil. Then he passed away, and lo, he was no more; I sought for him, but he could not be found. … But transgressors will be altogether destroyed; The posterity of the wicked will be cut off.

In a similar fashion, Yeshua encourages faith in Yahweh and obedience to his commands by illustrating the two houses that are built on differing foundations.

  • Matthew 6:33 – “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
  • Matthew 7:24-27 – “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell–and great was its fall.”

Even though these passages were conveyed to their hearers a thousand years apart, we can see a consistent theme: by placing our faith in Yahweh, we can have an established security that can weather any storm, while those who instead choose their own ways will suffer the consequences of their own wickedness.

Returning to Psalm 37, it speaks of how the righteous actions of those who trust in Yahweh will become self-evident, as bright as the noonday sun.

Psalm 37:4-6 Delight yourself in Yahweh; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to Yahweh, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light And your judgment as the noonday.

Trusting in Yahweh is just that: trust. But it is a trust that is demonstrated through righteous actions; the two cannot be separated. Additionally, the evidence provided over a millennium of tried-and-true experience in the fortunes of Israel should bolster our confidence to trust him, and not to trust in our own ways which only lead to wickedness. We can be established and secure in the land, or we can be cut off and vanish away like smoke. As followers of the Messiah, we should be strengthened to abide in his words that have been demonstrated as true since the times of David and will continue to do so throughout eternity.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.